Top 10 Places in Literature that Will Trigger Your Wanderlust


The Duomo in Florence, which is mentioned in “A Room with a View.” (Photo by Vincent Fazzi)

One of the reasons I read novels is to escape to another place. Good books transport me to cities and countries I can only dream of visiting. Even when a story is sad or downright depressing, a memorable depiction of a locale can still trigger my wanderlust. And when I do get a chance to see some of those places, I feel twice as lucky.

Though I’ve never been to France, in James Salter’s capable hands, I can almost see the French countryside as “long, wheat-colored stretches and then green, level land, recumbent and rich.”

I visited Florence in 2013 partly because of E.M. Forster and writing such as this: “It was pleasant, too, to fling wide the windows…to lean out into sunshine with beautiful hills and trees and marble churches opposite, and, close below, Arno, gurgling against the embankment of the road.”

Top 10 Places in Literature


Tower Bridge in London, the city depicted in “High Fidelity.” (Photo by Vincent Fazzi)

Some of these books are incredible in describing locale and ambience. Others are better at evoking a certain mood (“The Maltese Falcon” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and a certain time (“The Age of Innocence” and “The Great Gatsby”). All in all, these books are memorable and so are the places they depict.

#1 Florence and Tuscany: “A Room with a View” by E.M. Forster

#2 France: “A Sport and a Pastime” by James Salter

#3 English Countryside: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

#4 Santa Ynez Valley, California: “Sideways” by Rex Pickett

#5 New York City: “The Age of Innocence” by Edith Wharton

#6 Long Island, New York: “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

#7 San Francisco: “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett

#8 London: “High Fidelity” by Nick Hornby

#9 Chicago: (Old Chicago) “Sister Carrie” by Theodore Dreiser; (Contemporary Chicago) “Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow

#10 Stockholm: “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson

Read a Related Story:

Using Fictional v. Real Places in a Novel

Leave a comment


  1. Reblogged this on Erin Fanning and commented:
    Begin the weekend with a selection of literary travels from author Cindy Fazzi. After reading her posting, you’ll be planning your next trip…

  2. Lovely post, Cindy. I long to return to Italy and visit Florence. Soon perhaps if I am lucky.

  3. I got to visit the place where I staged a book and it was so strange to walk through the settings where my characters lived and loved and died. They were there, like ghosts. Great post. When I get around to traveling, I’ll make a point of reading the books first 🙂

  1. Top 10 Opening Sentences of Novels | Cindy Fazzi

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